Monthly Archives: June 2013

My Frenemy, Painter’s Remorse

Hey, look!  It’s Chloe the Dachshund!


She’s sporting some pale gray paint on her coat today,

which means one thing at our house.

 There’s a painting project underway!


I did my research + made my choices.

1. lots of pale gray,

2.massive amounts of white trim,

+ 3. glossy black doors.

Done.  Handled.

No drama when G.O. + I head to the paint store.

No painter’s remorse afterward.

* * * *

But wait.

I failed to share my inspiration pic with G.O.!

gray garage siding #1

How could I?

Imagine, if you will, me sharing

that I want him to paint his garage doors BLACK,

right in the middle of the paint department!

surprised boy

Poor guy!

I really did feel sorry for him (which kind of surprised me!)

He wasn’t swayed,

not even when I recounted every single past project we’ve done together

+ reminded him of the following sequence of events:

 1. he hates it,

2. I insist,

3. we do it my crazy way,

+ 4. he loves it.


So I compromised + chose a ‘soft’ black.

I said we could try a quart of it + see.

Here ’tis ^^, on a sample board, propped against the door.

Of course, in the photo, it looks black, but it’s not.  It’s the darkest of grays.

Here’s black:

Of course, now it seems like every other online photo is sporting an inky black door.

I spied these French doors yesterday

+ am now seized with the desire to paint all our interior doors black, too!

black french door

The New Victorian Ruralist

But I digress — back to garage doors:

garage black door

But wait.

Isn’t this place (below) awesome?

Doesn’t that color look like ‘soft’ black?

Oh, dear.

It’s the fabulous Winslow’s Home on Delmar Blvd. in St. Louis — just west of the loop in University City.

Spend a weekend in St. Louis + go there:

winslow's homewinslow's home #2

Get Cardinal tickets + see a game.

busch stadium

Hey, I digress again!

What I’m saying is that our old frenemy, painter’s remorse, is back.

No problem, I hope not.

I’ll just head over to the Dutch colonial later this a.m.,

have another look-see + (fingers crossed! ) decide.

Stay tuned!

Gray Woodwork, The Sequel

gray woodwork -- living room

I pinned this photo today

+ commented that it might be time to bring back gray woodwork.

You see, way back in 19 + 85,

I painted my kitchen cabs + woodwork a luscious gray

from Benjamin Moore’s historical color chart.

See for yourself in this spectacular Polaroid snapshot:


I’m really rocking my 80’s perm + sweater,

+ I’m pretty sure those are acid washed jeans with pleats.

Va va va voom!

* * * *

But back to TO-day, people.

Here’s what I’ve been trying (but failing)

to persuade myself to do in our Dutch colonial:

gray walls -- #1

Dark gray walls!  Yesh!

You see, our new home is blessed with 1 south + 1 west-facing bay,

both sporting nice, big windows . . .


. . . the woodwork of which some interloper chose to paint, years ago:


Tragic or no?

When we first toured our house, both our (very nice) realtor + G.O.

immediately agreed that we’d have to strip it all

+ return it to its natural glory.

Thankfully, there’s plenty of natural gloriousness remaining:


Meanwhile, I said nothing

(at the TIME — I mean, who wants to quarrel in front of the real estate lady?)

You see, images of dark gray walls with luscious white woodwork

were already dashing through my head!

black bathroom

black walls

Since then, I’ve given it my best college try, people,

but I just can’t pull the trigger on the dark gray walls.

White walls make me happy . . .

gray woodwork -- living room

. . . +, after all these years,

I guess I’m still carrying a torch for gray woodwork!

So that’s why, when I came across this photo,  I was thrilled!

Immediately, I set out to find more images of said-same:

gray woodwork -- staircase

gray woodwork - bathroom

Loving the relaxed Roman shades!

gray woodwork -- bedroom door

Now I’ve got my it’s-great-when-a-plan-comes-together buzz!

I’ll share said-same with G.O. — LATER.

I mean, who wants to quarrel

on such a beautiful summer morning?

Garage Makeover Excitement

I’ve not posted much about our Dutch colonial project,

because lately, all our progress hasn’t been that photogenic.

We’re talking framing walls, beefing up beams, etc. . . .

. . . which has to be done, but it’s just not that exciting (sorry, G.O.)

* * * *

The good news is that he’s finally bringing excitement back!

garage arbor blue morning glories

Now, THIS is exciting!

Yes — it’s time to complete our garage’s makeover!



Our plans are to turn this homeliness . . .


. . . into something a tad more cottage + charming, like this . . .

Speaking of inspirations,  this is our  garage's . . .

. . . using white vinyl siding, + lots of it.

Yes, that’s right — I said vinyl.

* * * *

Okay, okay.  I know.  Not cool.

Nothing screams “VINYL SIDING” more than an errant J channel!

What’s a J channel, you ask?  Here ’tis:

This is the J channel required by vinyl siding, to clad windows.

This is the J channel
required by most brands of vinyl siding,
to clad windows.

The good news is that at least one vinyl siding company . . . —

makes vinyl trim that eliminates J channels + thus, doesn’t LOOK like vinyl!


Cool, no?

So, off we go to the local build-o-rama, to order.

* * * * *

But wait.

You know that occasion,

when you’re telling the male sales associate +/or your husband

 what you envision + what you want . . .

. . . + they’re looking at you blankly, as if you were speaking Martian?

Of COURSE, you do!

That occasion was happening to me at the build-o-rama.

* * * * *


Time for lil’ mama to punt + go to plan B.

Here’s plan B:


4′ x 8′ sheets of real wood.




We are going to trim it out with real wood 1 x 4’s + 1 x 6’s,

which is going to be awesome.

Next, we’ll stain everything with solid color stain,

which comes in 100’s of scrumptious colors.


I’m currently searching for the perfect pale, pale gray, like this, for the siding:

gray garage siding #1

What do you think of that black door?

I like it!  A lot!

If I don’t have the nerve to pull off black,

a medium-tone gray would be cool, too:

gray garage siding #2

Or, if I’m feeling particularly adventurous, a gray-blue would be awesome:

gray garage siding #3

Stay tuned!

Our Grandparents’ House

My grandparents once lived in this beautiful Italianate-style house

in our hometown of Greenville, Illinois (about 50 miles east of St. Louis).

gma+pa's house -- front garden

I love the color scheme (red window sashes!),

those buntings + that island garden bed (millstone!) out front!

Here’s a very cherished informal family photo taken at the house:

gma + pa's old house -- family

I’m guessing mid-fifties, based on how young we all were!

There’s Grandpa + Grandma at the far right —

with a small ME, sitting in the front row.

Notice how my mom’s hand is reaching for me,

as if she worried I would be obscured by my uncle.

Sweet, no?

My sister, Kathy, is seated on Grandpa’s lap.


* * * *

I have NO memories of this house nor of our grandparents’

having lived there, but my (older) sister + cousins do.

* * * * *

The house, no longer a private residence, is now the Hoiles-Davis Museum,

operated by the Bond County Historical Society.

We toured it a couple years back, + I kind of geeked out.

Nobody loves a museum more than I do!

All that cool, old stuff is beyond interesting, to me!

gma + pa's old house -- front

There’s our dad.

In honor of this being Father’s Day, why don’t I share a few more photos of Dad?


Late 40’s?

How jaunty + stylish is he?

Look at that awesome jacket + those trousers with the deep cuffs!

And finally, here he is with a few adoring great-grands

at his 90th birthday celebration, just this past March!


Still stylin’ after all these years.
Love the plaid shirt + vest!


Is Less MORE Or Is It A BORE?


Okay, who first said that?  + about what was he speaking?

architecture -- mies van der whozit

He said it. The great 20th C architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

This, the Farnsworth House, was designed by van der Rohe.

It sits on the side of the Fox River just west of Yorkville, Illinois.

architecture -- farnsworth house

For my own decor, when it comes to ‘less is more’,

I am always inspired by rooms like this:

spare interior

Or this:

spare entry #2

When I see photos like these, I am halfway inspired to get rid of EVERYTHING I OWN.

Until I spy a charmer like this one:

clutter #1

I love it!

Hey!   Maybe LESS is a BORE!

And yes, that’s another famous quote by another famous architect:

Robert Venturi

He said it.
Robert Venturi
Post-modern architect

Here’s one of his most famous residential designs:

vanna venturi house

But back to ME . . .

. . . one day last weekend, I felt I needed the kind of morale boost

that moving my stuff around provides.

I tackled our neglected (in winter) enclosed front porch

+ gave it its warm weather makeover!


I was definitely rocking some less-is-a-bore attitude.


Believe it or not, I was all set to sell this piece at auction.

Instead, I filled it with lots of stuff I love!






The red quilt is old, + its pattern is called Irish Chain.

The blue one is only old enough to have been sold

at the late, great Marshall Fields, C early 90’s.

Its beautiful design is called Ocean Waves.


Okay, so that was fun — both the re-arranging + the blogging about my stuff!

As always, thanks for viewing; it means a lot!


3 French Hens Market, June 2013

This past Saturday morning I thoroughly enjoyed our town’s French Hens Market.

french hens ladies luncheon

This month they featured a Ladies Luncheon . . .


. . . + a  book-signing . . .


. . . by these 2 awe-inspiring women:

anne marie

Tracie Thorson, left, from my favorite magazine, Where Women Create . . .

where women create

. . . + Anne Marie Klaske of Na-Da-Farm . . .

na-da-farm sale

. . . where, twice a year, she + her family host

the Na-Da-Farm Barn Sale.

My friend, Alan, + I participated at this show a couple times;

here’s our booth in May 2012:

Hola, Alan!

Hola, Alan!

If you can, you must attend a 3 French Hens Market,

held monthly here in Morris, Illinois.

They’re wonderful!

Here’s the 2013 schedule:

Three French Hens schedule

I’ve participated in this market a couple times, too . . .

. . . most recently, the wonderful, 2-day Holiday Market, last November!

redbird booth

* * * * * * *

This time, I attended as a shopper only,

+ here are a few of the things I brought home:

David's  Perennial Gardening 708.516.0249

Perennial Gardening

I know!!  I’d never seen a coleus standard before, either!!

Isn’t it great?

David, the shopkeeper, told me how to pinch it back

to make it fuller + bushier.

Flume Coleus


* * * * * *

I also bought this cool, vintage electric churn:


My plans are to have G.O. repurpose it into a ceiling light fixture.



What do you think?

I think it’s calling for a huge, vintage-style

Edison light bulb!

West Elm

West Elm

Stay tuned!


SO, yesterday evening G.O. + I watched 60 MINUTES, + it was great!


The good  news is that crabby Andy Rooney’s gone (J/K!),

+ the even better news is that last night’s episode featured

the great MAGGIE SMITH

(with an appearance by the also great Dustin Hoffman**!)

baking -- maggie smith + dustin hoffman

** Dusty recently  made his directorial debut with the movie, “Quartet”, co-starring Maggie . . .

. . . + he sez she (curses like) “a sailor”

+ drops the F bomb constantly,

+ he loves her for it!

Hey, Dusty — if you’ve got a “thing” for the foul-mouthed older gal —

may I introduce you to ME?

Dusty, call me!

But I digress.

If you’re interested in Maggie’s musings about “Downton Abbey” (and who ISN’T?),

go here:

* * * * * *

Any-hoo, as one often is, we were too lazy to change the channel

+ thoroughly enjoyed the program which followed 60 Minutes:


baking -- logo

HA!  Who knew?

It, TOO, was pretty great!

How could it NOT be, with this awesome cast of players,

including “amateur baker” + my personal favorite, Francine! . . .

baking -- francine

baking -- francine #2

Never change, Francine!

. . . + my 2nd favorite “amateur baker”, Brian . . .

baking -- brian

. . . who, coincidentally, came in a close 2nd in the pie contest, to Francine.

The heartbreak on his face really endeared him to me,

as did the film footage of him at home, compulsively/happily vacuuming!

Never change, Brian!

* * * * * * *

Anyway, back to the cast:

. . . here’s the extremely likable Jeff Foxworthy as host:

baking -- jeff foxworthy

Never change, Jeff!
Oh, wait.
He never does!

. . . +, be still, my heart, THIS crazy-handsome-silver-fox judge

with the crazy-sexy piercing-blue eyes

+ the impossibly-awesome name:




baking -- paul hollywood

Paul Hollywood,
never change your name!

And speaking of Silver Foxi,

how about a gratuitous photo of (St. Louis’ own) Michael McDonald

+ look!  It’s Ray Charles, too!

baking -- mike mc donald + ray charles

* * * * *

Oops.  More digressing.

Let’s get back to my new, favorite show.

Check out their awesome, slightly country bumpkin set!

I think the gay  guy who stages all those Cracker Barrel restaurants

took a short sabbatical

+ spent a few weeks over at CBS!

baking -- pie sign

Red neon!?  Yes, please!

baking -- decor fiesta ware _ signage

Fiesta Ware!  Old metal signage!  Barnwood!

baking -- decor

Multi-colored islands — one for each “amateur baker”!

baking -- decor pig

A flying pig!?  Oh, dear, Mr. Cracker Barrel, you may have stumbled briefly (J/K!) . . .

baking decor -- blue chairs

. . . but blue Tolix chairs!?  Excellent!

And . . . saving the best for last . . .

baking -- decor kitchen aid red

Red Kitchen Aid stand mixers!?  Of course!

And look!  There, in the background!

west elm smeg front

Yes!  Red SMEG refrigerators!

I just blogged about my love for both, here:

+ here:



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